Canada's Milos Raonic

Canada's Milos Raonic

Raonic wins lead Canada to Davis Cup semis

VANCOUVER — Milos Raonic helped take Canada where it’s never gone before at the Davis Cup. Raonic defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Sunday and Canada advanced to the World Group semifinals for the first time by defeating Italy 3-1 in their quarter-final tie.

VANCOUVER — Milos Raonic helped take Canada where it’s never gone before at the Davis Cup.

Raonic defeated Andreas Seppi 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Sunday and Canada advanced to the World Group semifinals for the first time by defeating Italy 3-1 in their quarter-final tie.

Raonic said he wasn’t particularly concerned that he had let Seppi back into the match when he dropped the third set to his Italian opponent.

“It wasn’t like I got completely outplayed in the set,” he said.

“He just converted his chances better than I did. I just kept plugging away. I’m looking forward to the next series in Serbia. It’s going to be an exciting opportunity.”

Canada will next face Serbia in the World Group semifinals in September.

Serbia, which features the world’s top player Novak Djokovic, wrapped up its quarter-final tie with the U.S. on Sunday when Djokovic defeated Sam Querrey 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-0 to give the Serbs an unbeatable 3-1 lead in the series played in Boise, Idaho.

Canada had never been to the Davis Cup quarter-finals in the modern era until it upset Spain in February.

Raonic’s win ran the Thornhill, Ont., native’s personal winning streak of Davis Cup singles matches to seven straight. His overall record for Canada is now 12-4, 10-3 in singles and 2-1 in doubles.

Canadian captain Martin Laurendeau marvelled how far his team has come in just the past few years, when just the thought of getting into the World Group seemed like a major challenge.

“I remember just three years ago and Milos was playing Davis Cup for us against the Domincan Republic in Toronto,” said Laurendeau. “To be down like we are now to the (World Group) final four is an incredible honour. A lot of Canadian team captains before me have tried to get to where we are now.”

Canada’s victory over Spain at the same University of British Columbia venue in early February was a true upset with Spain ranked No. 1 in the world in Davis Cup — although the Spaniards were missing a couple of their top guns.

But the win over Italy, on paper at least, was a true toss up.

Raonic and Seppi were virtually tied in the world rankings and Italy’s second singles player, Fabio Fognini, held a huge ranking advantage over Canada’s No. 2 Vasek Pospisil. And the doubles — which Canada won in five tense sets Saturday — also looked like a “pick-em” matchup.

But on a deeper level Canada had many things going its way.

First, was the home country’s comfort level with the venue. It was the third tie involving Canada at the UBC arena in the past 13 months.

Then there were the choice of playing surface (Premier indoor hard court) and balls (Yonex Tour 1), which in both cases favoured Canada, whose players prefer faster courts and livelier balls.

The big-serving Raonic took full advantage of all those factors Sunday in downing Seppi.

He won the first two sets fairly handily, but Seppi battled back to take the third 6-3. The decisive fourth set went without a break until Seppi, serving at 5-6 to get into a tie-break, fell into a hole. He battled back to 15-40.

But then the Italian ace netted a slice backhand attempt on Raonic’s first match point to end the drama.

Seppi pointed out the surface Canada chose for the tie is so quick that it is rarely used on the pro tour.

“I didn’t have a chance to place my racquet on many serves those first two sets,” he said. “In a tournament you don’t often play on a surface like that. It’s difficult to get your rhythm.”

But Italian captain Corrado Barazzutti said that’s all fair play in Davis Cup.

“I think Canada chose the best surface for their players,” he said.

The semifinal will be played in Serbia where it will be Canada’s opponent’s terms to dictate the terms of the competition. Canada has actually been incredibly fortunate in that regards, having been favoured with four straight home-soil ties. That string will end in September.

With the series decided, both team captains agreed to cancel Sunday’s scheduled second singles.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Marcus Golczyk, with Taco Monster, hands food to a customer during Food Truck Drive and Dash in the Westerner Park parking lot in Red Deer Friday afternoon. The drive-thru event will run every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. through June. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff
Food Truck Fridays, Food Truck Drive and Dash return in Red Deer

Red Deerians are able to take in a drive-thru food truck experience… Continue reading

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault chairs a premiers virtual news conference as premiers John Horgan, B.C., Jason Kenney, Alberta, and Scott Moe, Saskatchewan, are seen onscreen, Thursday, March 4, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Several provinces bring in new restrictions as high COVID-19 case numbers persist

Several provinces are gearing up to tighten public health measures once again… Continue reading

Members of the RCAF take part in a Royal Canadian Air Force change of command ceremony in Ottawa on Friday, May 4, 2018. The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open its doors to military pilots from other countries as it seeks to address a longstanding shortage of experienced aviators. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
RCAF turns to foreign pilots to help with shortage as commercial aviators stay away

OTTAWA — The Royal Canadian Air Force is hoping Canada will open… Continue reading

An arrivals and departures information screen is seen at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport in Halifax on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. The chief executive of Atlantic Canada's largest airport is hoping for COVID-19 testing for arriving passengers "sooner rather than later," as an added measure to combat the province's third wave of the virus. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Halifax airport CEO hopes for more on-site COVID testing ‘sooner rather than later’

HALIFAX — The chief executive of Atlantic Canada’s largest airport is hoping… Continue reading

Shoppers wear mask as they shop at a nursery & garden shop on Mother's Day weekend during COVID-19 pandemic in Wilmette, Ill., Saturday, May 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Tearful reunions mark second Mother’s Day under pandemic

Last Mother’s Day, they celebrated with bacon and eggs over FaceTime. This… Continue reading

Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, standing, watches the game during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. The Wild won 5-2. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Tocchet won’t return as coach of Coyotes after 4 seasons

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Arizona Coyotes and coach Rick Tocchet have mutually… Continue reading

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella shouts at an official after a fight between Columbus Blue Jackets' s Gavin Bayreuther and Florida Panthers' Sam Bennett during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, April 19, 2021, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Tortorella out after 6 years as Columbus Blue Jackets coach

COLUMBUS, Ohio — John Tortorella is out as coach of the Columbus… Continue reading

A caribou grazes on Baffin Island in a 2008 file photo. A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada's vanishing caribou herds is a step closer after a scientific review panel's approval of a plan to permanently pen some animals and breed them to repopulate other herds. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kike Calvo via AP Images
Parks Canada captive caribou breeding proposal gets OK from scientific review panel

JASPER, Alta. — A last-ditch attempt to save some of Canada’s vanishing… Continue reading

The smouldering remains of houses in Slave Lake, Alta., are seen in a May 16, 2011, file photo. The wildfire that is devastating large swaths of the northern Alberta city of Fort McMurray comes just five years after another blaze destroyed 400 buildings and left 2,000 people homeless in Slave Lake, Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ian Jackson
Ten years later: Five things to know about the Slave Lake wildfire

A wildfire burned about one-third of Slave Lake in northern Alberta in… Continue reading

Most Read